Have you ever read the Bible? That probably sounds like a silly question to ask someone reading this blog on a Messianic and Hebrew Roots web site. You’ve read the Bible, and likely read the Bible regularly.
For many years, even before coming into this walk, I have made it a practice to read through the Bible every year. I choose a different translation each time (with some duplication) and just read. I don’t study as I go. I mark or write down things that I want to go back later and study further, but for this, I just read.
Here are a few suggestions for how you might find the best way to read the Bible in one year.
The Weekly Torah Portion
Maybe you already follow a Bible reading plan. Many of us read the weekly Torah portion, along with the Haftarah and Brit Chadasha (New Testament) readings. That’s a good thing. But here is something you may not have thought about.
The weekly Torah cycle will take you through the first five books of the Bible, the Torah, in one year’s time. The Haftarah (from a Hebrew root meaning to conclude or to take leave) is a related selection of Scripture taken from the Prophets. So, if you only read the weekly Portions, you will read 100% of the Torah but only about 7% of the rest of the Tanach (Old Testament). If you read the recommended selections from the Brit Chadashah, you will get about 7% of the New Testament as well, including less than 4% of the Gospels. Those portions vary in different plans, but fall way short of the entire New Testament.
That leaves a whole lot of the Bible that you will never read. You will never read the Psalms or Proverbs. You won’t read the story of Job, or Daniel, or Nehemiah. You won’t even read most of the events in the life of King David.
How to Read the Bible in One Year – 3 Suggestions
1. Use a Daily Bible
These come in many different translations, though I have not yet seen one in any of the Messianic or Sacred Name versions. They usually include daily readings with passages from the Old Testament and the New Testament, and many with a short passage from Psalms and/or Proverbs. By the end of the year, you will have read through the entire Bible. There is another format that I highly recommend that follows a chronological path through the Bible. I have listed a few of these Daily Bibles here.
Most are marked with the Day and Month (such as “January 6”), so if you are going to use one of these you probably want to start at the beginning of the calendar year. If you are reading this right after I have posted it, there is still time to pick up one at a local bookstore or through a quick shipping service like Amazon Prime.
The advantage of the Daily Bible is the convenience of knowing exactly where you are in your reading plan without having to refer to an external chart. You also do not have to search to find the starting point for the day’s passages. One disadvantage is that you may find it difficult to locate some particular passage. This Bible is for daily reading only, and not for your regular studies or for carrying with you to a congregational meeting.
2. Use a Printed Bible Reading Plan
These can be found everywhere following many different paths through the Bible. I will not be suggesting any one particular plan here. You can find them in magazines, journals, devotional guides and similar materials. Many study Bibles have a daily Bible reading plan printed in them.
These are very convenient and allow you to check off the days as you complete the readings. When you use and external chart like this, you can read through the Bible that you regularly use for study. Since the passages are not re-arranged as in the Daily Bible, you can easily refer back to them or find specific passages.
I will offer a word of caution here. You can pretty easily find a Bible reading plan in electronic format. I strongly discourage using your smartphone or tablet for Bible reading. You are much more likely to retain what you have read and be able to return to it if you use printed material. Personally, I believe there will come a time when our electronic technology will fail.
3. Use Your Calendar
I have used this method for several years now and it is my recommended approach. You can use any Bible you wish. Simply take the total number of pages in your Bible text, divide by 365, and round up. Reading this number of pages every day you will read the Bible through in one year. Use a calendar that numbers the day of the year to keep track of where you should be. With this method, you do not need to be concerned with the number or the length of the chapters. Just read until you get to a natural stopping point just past where you should end.
This past year I did this with the One New Man Bible. There are 1672 pages of Bible text, which comes out to 4.58 pages each day. By reading 5 pages a day, I finished this Bible the last day of November. The Bible I will probably use for 2018 has 1217 pages of Bible text, or 3.33 pages per day. At a rate of 4 pages per day, I will probably finish around the end of October. I could also make a goal of 3.5 pages per day.
Best Way to Read the Bible in a Year
Any of these methods will give you a plan for how to read the Bible in a year. The best one is the one that works for you. Of course, it also takes commitment on your part. Prepare yourself spiritually (that means pray and clear your mind of distractions) before you start reading, and then just read. Make a note of things you want to pursue further, but don’t do it now. Just read.
If you have other methods that have worked for you, please leave them in a comment below. Feel free to share your experience as you have read through the entire Bible.